“It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.”
Photography by Carol Walker, Music by Opus
As I was driving behind the BLM vehicles this morning on Bitter Creek Road I thought of the last time I was doing this, in December of last year on the coldest day of the year. I am so very tired of following the BLM out to trap sites where our beautiful, majestic wild horses are driven by helicopters into traps, separated from their families, and sent to holding pens to live out their lives. I am just sick of it, just sick.
This time, even the courts provided no remedy, even though the BLM has broken piles of rules and laws.
All I could do was to be there to witness it, once again.
It cannot be stated enough that the BLM has nowhere to put these wild horses yet they are determined to remove from their homes and their freedom. As of October 6 the Gunnison, UT facility is no longer home to 1100 wild horses.
It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.
I will be updating as I can, cell service permitting.
I am at the trap site in Salt Wells Creek or should I say 1/2 mile from the trap site. The trap site is on private land, and we are placed on public land. There is a group standing right over the trap on the rocks, a fabulous view point, and I can only assume it is the landowner and family. Even my very long lens is having a hard time getting any sort of a decent shot of the horses coming in.
They are starting here in this location in Salt Wells Creek for only 20 horses, then moving the whole operation tomorrow to Great Divide Basin. No doubt a very influential land owner demanded they start here first.
The first group of wild horses driven in by helicopter today was led by spectacular and proud black and white pinto stallion who did not want to go into the trap. We heard the helicopter circling around and moving the horses for over an hour before they made it into the trap. The horses looked so tired, heads hanging low, sides heaving. Then immediately the Cattoors pushed them into a trailer, and the stallions are fighting furiously. There is dust spilling out the sides of the trailer and I see the black and white stallion go down, and get trampled in the close quarters. Why on earth did they shove them all in there together? He finally gets up.
The next group has a week old baby foal running gamely in the middle, through the dust to the trap. The whole family runs into the trap, and then they flag the baby to separate it out so he will not get trampled in the trailer. Of course he is terrified and his mother is whinnying.
The last horse they tried to bring in today was a gorgeous black stallion with a bald white face – I called him Baldy – he bumped into the Judas horse, was very clearly surprised, jumped back and decided that he wanted no part of the trap – they tried to bring him back around 3x then let him go after he faced the helicopter. Jay D’Ewart, Wild Horse and Burro Expert for Rock Springs radioed and said “let him go.” Still wild and free! We all cheered.
This day has left such a sad bitter taste in my mouth that I decide to go see some wild horses in Salt Wells Creek. The beautiful families that are simply resting together on this gorgeous fall day lift my spirits. This is the only way I or anyone else should see wild horses.
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)